Most Americans struggle with their finances at some point due to low levels of literacy, but college-educated Hispanics report heightened feelings of financial insecurity when compared to non-Hispanics.
Almost 60 percent of college-educated Hispanics find it difficult to cover their monthly expenses, nearly one-half feel they have taken on too much debt, and most are not planning for retirement, according to “Hispanic Personal Finances: Financial Literacy and Decisionmaking Among College-Educated Hispanics,” a report published on Monday by the TIAA-CREF Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center.
"The Hispanic population is growing rapidly and projected to surpass a quarter of the nation’s population by 2050,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, senior managing director and head of the TIAA-CREF Institute. “It is crucial that we understand the challenges Hispanic families face financially as their share of and impact on the economy increase.”
Fifty-nine percent of college-educated Hispanics said they experienced difficulty covering monthly expenses and 48 percent report feeling like they have too much debt, according to the report. Most college-educated Hispanics, at 56 percent, told surveyors that they were not planning for retirement, while 47 percent of whites said they had not done so.
Hispanics were also less likely to seek financial advice about savings and investment, at 33 percent, than their white cohorts, at 38 percent. However, they were more likely, at 12 percent, to seek debt counseling than non-Hispanic whites, at 8 percent.
The report also found that college-educated Hispanics lag behind their white cohorts in financial literacy, but don’t always feel that way. When asked about numeracy, inflation, risk diversification, mortgages and bond prices, Hispanic respondents were 20 percentage points less likely to display a basic level of financial literacy, yet a large proportion of college-educated Hispanics (76 percent) claim they have a high level of overall financial knowledge.
The report analyzes data from a survey of 1,533 respondents, examining the personal finances of college-educated Hispanics through a systematic analysis of their assets, liabilities, planning behavior, financial fragility and financial literacy.